SFY 21 Office of Child Welfare (OCWEST)

Grants and Contracts Details


The Office of Child Welfare Evaluation, Support, and Technology (OCWEST) at the University of Kentucky’s Training Resource Center (TRC) provides essential research, evaluation, and support activities and services to the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) in its ongoing efforts to meet the Children and Family Services Review performance assessments in the areas of child safety, permanency, and well-being. In effect, OCWEST is a research and service unit linking CHFS, UK College of Social Work and TRC programs, and community partners for the promotion of child welfare. OCWEST provides research and evaluation oversight and execution to CHFS’s Department for Community Based Services (DCBS) in several ways. OCWEST faculty and staff provide expertise in the areas of child welfare research and evaluation and provide consultation and implementation support in research areas such as methodology selection, high level data analyses, data interpretation, and report writing. In addition, OCWEST faculty and staff serve as research and evaluation advisors to DCBS and partners regarding overall research and evaluation capacity building for the Department. In order to provide the most useful and efficacious recommendations, OCWEST faculty and staff will use data-driven, evidence-based information to guide the work. Faculty and staff will use existing DCBS data as well as other available data sets to explore and assess the current strengths and challenge areas for the department. In addition to basing all work on evidence-based science, the faculty and staff will employ the use of translational science techniques to help assist DCBS in furthering the mission to provide leadership in building high quality community based human service systems that enhance safety, permanency, well-being and self-sufficiency for Kentucky''s families, children and vulnerable adults. Specific research and evaluation components have been identified as needing the expertise of OCWEST faculty and staff. These areas of focus include the Title IV-E Waiver Demonstration Project Evaluation, the Child and Family Services Review (CFSR), and the state’s Performance Improvement Plan (PIP). OCWEST faculty and staff will advise, consult, and develop research protocols related to these projects. Tasks may include research design, methodology, data analyses, and reporting. In addition, OCWEST faculty and staff will provide leadership for DCBS evaluation efforts related to service provision and policy development. This may include consultation with Central Office and DCBS Service Regions in areas such as research methodologies and data, program and policy advisement based on data findings, conceptualizing evaluation protocols, development and oversight of data collection plans and data collection tools related to mandated program/data collection (CFSR, AFSR, Title IV-E Waiver, PIP), oversight and management of data analyses, assistance with IRB processes, report writing, and consultation to conceptualize and develop future research and evaluation initiatives in partnership with DCBS and other child welfare experts. Additionally, OCWEST faculty and staff will lead and participate in strategic dissemination activities (e.g. conference presentations, research papers and briefs, etc.) in order to facilitate information sharing among the larger child welfare community. The purpose of the work of OCWEST is to provide solution-driven services, consultation, and recommendations for improving child and family outcomes. In addition to research and evaluation services, OCWEST provides direct and indirect support services and activities. Directly, OCWEST performs the following critical activities and services for the Cabinet and the CFSR goals: (1) Development, implementation, and facilitation of training, teaching, and promotion of organizational growth for human services workers throughout the Commonwealth. OCWEST personnel are involved in various Cabinet training initiatives. In addition, OCWEST staff are significantly involved in the development and maintenance of online education opportunities for CHFS staff, university students, and foster/adoptive parents. Such opportunities include Credit for Learning, web-based academic course work, and web sites dedicated to training/educating CHFS foster/adoptive parents--ensuring that College of Social Work curriculum committees, Accreditation and University Technology Services outcomes are met. (2) Act as a valuable link between the Department for Community Based Services (DCBS), field staff, universities, and community partners through the UK College of Social Work’s Institute for Facilitation Innovation (IFI). IFI provides technical assistance, training, and direct service to DCBS and child welfare partners on collaboration, facilitation, communication, and coordination. (3) Serve in a direct training and facilitation capacity for Cabinet learning initiatives for CHFS staff and/or foster/adoptive parents through the UK College of Social Work’s Institute for Facilitation Innovation (IFI). (4) Participation in continuous quality improvement efforts, such as CQI Stakeholders meetings to both inform stakeholders of the services available to support children and families through the UK TRC, as well as to provide recommendations for improving Kentucky’s child welfare system. (5) Produce and maintain web-based courses and trainings for CHFS/DCBS employees and foster/adoptive parents. (6) Provide coordination of statewide foster/adoptive parent appreciation events as requested. (7) Facilitate and coordinate the development of instructional and/or informational multimedia products in collaboration with CHFS/DCBS Leadership and Branch Managers.
Effective start/end date7/1/206/30/21


  • KY Department of Community Based Services: $701,948.00


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